Monday, August 27, 2018


Any and every resident or medical student who has ever worked with me at Grady has heard me say these words:

"Rock steady, baby."

It is what I say when a patient is doing better. It is what I say when everything is going well. It is the response I give to someone telling me they got several interviews for jobs or fellowships. Or even just the thing I offer someone who asks how things are going with me.

"Rock steady, baby."

It is the song that lifted my spirits after losing my sister. The one that lulled me out of bed and outside to learn to run to combat grief. The beat that thumped in my chest when I spoke to millions of people on CNN as the Chilean miners were rescued. The velvety voice that crooned over my shoulder when stepping up to a podium to give a lecture. And the jam that helped me cross finish lines for those 13.1 mile races I never believed I could run.

Rock steady, baby.

See, I believe that everyone should have a soundtrack playing in their head every single day. Those who know me and have read my blog know that I have a mental iPod playing 24-7. I kid you not--if my life were a movie and it had to have a musical soundtrack? Right at the top of the playlist would be this song.

Rock steady, baby.

Sometimes I put my earjacks in and strut straight into Grady to the beat of this song playing in my ear--literally. But most times? I don't even need it. I can hear it clear as a bell no matter what other ambient noises are around me.


Something about the bass. The horns. Her voice. Her voice. . . and the background singers, too. All of it seems to swirl in my spirit and speak to my mood. It says, "You are good. You will be fine. Things are good. And if they aren't, they will be or they can be."

Rock steady, baby.

It makes me want to high five people, do the bump with somebody in the elevator, and put some pep in my step. It makes me want to convince a patient they can make it, shake the hand of a security guard, and raise my hand in the back of the teaching conference. It lifts my spirits and puts my feet on a positive path. Yes. That.

Rock steady, baby.

Such a perfect song. Nothing too fancy. Not too many complicated lyrics. Just good, clean soul. I mean, let's call this song exactly what it is.

Mmmm hmmmm.

So if you see me around Grady or anywhere for that matter. . . .and you wonder why I look like I hear music in my head? It's because I do. And thanks to the Queen of Soul, it is probably this very song.

Rock steady, baby.

Aretha will forever be playing on my mental iPod as a reminder to feel the rhythm of each day and step into it with gratitude. And then? Just call this life exactly what it is: One I'm glad to be living.

Rock steady, baby.

Rest in power, Soror Aretha. Your talent and legacy will live on forever. May you forever move rock steady, baby.


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